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#4723799 - 04/11/18 03:39 PM How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House?
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 3926
Loc: Midwest USA
Found an existing house built in 2001 that looks pretty classy. It has stucco as the exterior cladding. I've always like the steady smooth look of stucco done right, this one is a beige tannish grey color with white trim and looks great, at least in the realtor photos (don't they all... HDR photography!!). Fiancee' and I likely will request a showing.

Wanted to ask how stucco is as an exterior cladding these days, have there been advances in it's composition? Is it more durable and resistant to cracking today than decades ago? It's a gold course property and the back of lot butts up to the Course, which we like since it should mean no houses behind us.
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#4723821 - 04/11/18 04:06 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
NormanBuntz Offline


Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 2012
Loc: Outer Banks, NC
If it is stucco on concrete block, that's great. If it's stucco on wood frame, the contractor should have used the post-1990 construction methods. As you may know, there are thousands of homes built in the 1980's in the Mid-Atlantic area that developed horrible water damage, mold and wood rot problems. In these cases, water got behind the stucco because of faulty construction or application.

My PA home built in 1984 developed these issues after I sold it in 1997. However, my experience with stucco on concrete block is excellent. It's much more energy efficient than a standard wood frame house.
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#4723829 - 04/11/18 04:12 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
JLTD Offline


Registered: 12/15/17
Posts: 366
Loc: US
It can be a great material but as noted, mold and rot can be issues.
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#4723934 - 04/11/18 06:05 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
Snagglefoot Offline


Registered: 12/31/17
Posts: 1263
Loc: Alberta
Being in the Midwest I would think you have a good chance of being trouble free if you have eves sufficiently large to keep the stucco from getting soaked on a regular basis. I always thought of it as being trouble free. I spent the last 30 years in two homes that were both stucco. No problems.


Edited by Snagglefoot (04/11/18 06:06 PM)

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#4723944 - 04/11/18 06:27 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
Oldtom Offline


Registered: 07/05/14
Posts: 293
Loc: Maryland
I live in Maryland. Some houses in this area were covered with Styrofoam sheets and the stucco applied over that. This stuff is beyond horrible, easily damaged and subject to water infiltration. I have seen woodpeckers peck through the thin layer of stucco and expose the Styrofoam! Imagine having a house cladding that can be ruined by a very small, but determined bird.

Google "synthetic stucco" for more info. There have been lawsuits over this stuff. If you tap on the stucco and it makes a weird "hollow" sound, it is probably synthetic.

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#4723966 - 04/11/18 06:52 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
benjy Offline


Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 719
Loc: pa
the last post is prolly Dryvit a brand name, a lot depends on the install as it can have one coat of mesh or a heavier Panzar mish, styrofoam can be shaped to anything + the color is in the finish coating. generally in lower areas heavy mesh is used to prevent damage, but a local school i worked on years has holes + divits in it the 2 legged young peckerkids sure beat it up, its tough + expensive but not tough enough!!

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#4724046 - 04/11/18 08:13 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
AZjeff Offline


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2472
Loc: Cottonwood Az
Stucco seems to be the exterior of choice in the southwest. From what I've seen it's all done with a "styrofoam" base although it's not plain old cheap cooler foam. First the foam, then a vapor barrier wrap, then wire screen ("lathe") to bind the stucco. 2 new houses in my current neighborhood are stucco'd and the new house we're moving to shortly is stucco. It may not be appropriate everywhere but sure is popular here.

I saw woodpeckers peck a hole in the wood siding of houses in Pa so not really something I'm concerned about.
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#4724053 - 04/11/18 08:19 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
Kage860 Offline


Registered: 04/17/17
Posts: 71
Loc: NY
My parents house is a 90 year old stucco house. All my dad does is paint it every 15 years or so and fill in any cracks with silicone. It looks like back then they put the stucco over a wood lathe structure. I have seen newer houses with the styrofoam with the plaster over it, baseballs and all dent those pretty easy. Stucco seems to be less maintenance then brick.

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#4724058 - 04/11/18 08:24 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 3926
Loc: Midwest USA
Good info guys, thx. I'll rap on it with my knuckle dragger knuckles and listen for hollow sounding sounds. Probably have a viewing tomorrow evening. Will also inquire who the builder was and if my Fiancee' and I are interested further I can get the down low on the builder's reputation pretty readily.
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#4724087 - 04/11/18 08:51 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 3926
Loc: Midwest USA
Okay, I'm reading up on EIFS or synthetic stucco. Holy [censored]. If we're interested this house will need to have been built using the updated kind that came out right around 2001 or 2, that incorporates a drainage system to let water out and not trap it like the standard EIFS does. I guarantee this house is likely wood frame construction and not masonry block. If masonry block, however, we may get it, because we would like a masonry block home for other reasons as well. Except for earthquakes...

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#4724177 - 04/11/18 10:30 PM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
AndyB Offline


Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 10
Loc: St.Cloud MN.
Stucco is like anything else. Done correctly itís great. Dryvit is great also done correctly.

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#4724247 - 04/12/18 12:27 AM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
ecotourist Offline


Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 1033
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
I've had 2 houses with stucco on wire mesh nailed to plywood sheathing. And a third (1920s vintage) with stucco on likely 6" cladding. All were otherwise solid houses and the stucco was trouble free.

The big advantage of stucco is the almost complete lack of maintenance. You might have to caulk around the windows after a decade or so. Use really good caulking and you're back to low maintenance.

Minor cracks can be repaired using original materials and an artistic touch.

Just don't paint it. If you do, you'll have to repaint it periodically.
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#4724248 - 04/12/18 12:33 AM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
ediamiam Offline


Registered: 06/01/04
Posts: 671
Loc: Northern California
If it backs up to a golf course, is the backyard exposed to the fairways? Will stray drives wind up in your yard, hitting your house?

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#4724313 - 04/12/18 05:58 AM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: ediamiam]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 3926
Loc: Midwest USA
Originally Posted By: ediamiam
If it backs up to a golf course, is the backyard exposed to the fairways? Will stray drives wind up in your yard, hitting your house?


Possibly. Definitely golf course behind it and a short back yard (0.25 acre lot). Have to see.
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#4724421 - 04/12/18 08:03 AM Re: How Good is Stucco as Exterior Cladding on House? [Re: LoneRanger]
pandus13 Online   content


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 2870
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: LoneRanger
Good info guys, thx. I'll rap on it with my knuckle dragger knuckles and listen for hollow sounding sounds. Probably have a viewing tomorrow evening. Will also inquire who the builder was and if my Fiancee' and I are interested further I can get the down low on the builder's reputation pretty readily.

May I recommend beside the regular inspection, to retain (pay for his time) a good general contractor to do his own inspection?
It won't be insured and no warranty, but an experienced contractor may know more than the regular inspector...
This also about what is in the walls, not just exterior/stucco.
Just my guess, but from the interior pictures of your current house you posted a while ago, I'm going to assume you will renovate the house to your taste...
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